Aim of the paper. This paper reports the results of a multiple-phase study on a mentoring scheme for nursing students in one of the universities in Hong Kong. Using a qualitative approach, students' perceptions of the various roles of mentors were collected, and this information was used as the basis to design a tool for subsequent evaluation of the mentoring scheme. Background. The nursing department in one of the universities in Hong Kong initiated and developed the idea of an 'Honorary Clinical Instructors' scheme (HCI scheme) for the supervision of the pre-registration nurses. The scheme was examined in a local context, where the Chinese culture dominated, so that a standardized protocol that takes into account the potential cultural dimensions could be established. Design. The mentoring roles outlined by the English National Board (ENB) for Nursing, Midwifery, Health Visiting were used as a framework to identify undergraduate nursing students' perception of the effectiveness of mentors. Information gathered from interviews with Year 2 students (n = 12) and Year 3 students (n = 10) was used as the basis to design a questionnaire for subsequent programme evaluation. An evaluation questionnaire based on the interviewing results was developed for further evaluation of the mentoring scheme. Findings. After the mentoring scheme was evaluated in semester one, a series of strategies were designed to improve the preparation of mentors and the implementation of the scheme. The strategies were identified as effective by the significant differences in the perceptions students had towards the mentoring scheme in semester one and semester two (t189= -4·80, P < 0·001), with semester two (n = 81) having a mean score difference of 8·69 higher than in semester one (n = 110). Conclusions. It was concluded that the questionnaire developed in the project could be adopted as a useful instrument to evaluate the effectiveness of mentoring programmes for nursing courses, and that the results of this study may also stimulate more research interest in this area to improve the quality of clinical teaching in the preregistration nursing education programmes in the future.
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